Meet the catwalk whisperers

Meet the catwalk whisperers

Meet the catwalk whisperers

Photo credit: Courtesy

Photo credit: Courtesy

Photo credit: Courtesy

Photo credit: Courtesy

“Work it out, girl (Twirl!) / Do your own thing on the runway,” RuPaul famously urged in “Supermodel (You Better Work),” his 1992 hit ode to Linda, Naomi, Christy’s collective footsteps. , Cindy, and the rest of the mononymous prodigious women of the 90s. But in the beginning, much of that singularity and originality had disappeared. It was supplanted by the militaristic trampling of processions of stern-looking young models who didn’t even pose to stop (quickly) at the end of the catwalk so the camera pit could shoot the kind of flat, standardized presentation images that dawn of the required digital media.

Now, however, it seems that the pendulum has come back. Personality, performance and theatricality are once again celebrated at fashion shows and even “working” is experiencing a renaissance. TikTok has something to do with this: the social media platform du jour has built an entire memetic universe around movement, especially dance, and fashion shows have the potential to reach a much wider audience if they go viral there. . Plus, those 1990s runways have been rediscovered by Generation Z stan who commemorate them in carefully curated montages. And runway photographers are mixing it up too, complementing traditional direct shots by capturing how clothes move from a variety of angles and perspectives.

While it may seem like anyone with enough swagger can strut, the secret to a good walk has always been knowing how to move. Enter the director of the movement. Not quite a choreographer, albeit often with a background in dance, a movement director sits at the intersection of performing arts and fashion, tasked with bringing the ideas to life in a collection and helping today’s models deliver. the best of oneself. Pioneers in the field such as Stephen Galloway and Les Child have made the role an essential part of fashion shows.

“I always thought the title ‘choreographer’ didn’t feel right,” says Galloway, a Los Angeles resident who collaborates with Tom Ford and Brandon Maxwell and danced with Ballet Frankfurt for two decades before retiring in 2005. also served as what he jokingly calls “hip and lip coordinator” for the Rolling Stones.)

In the early 2010s, Galloway began working on campaigns and editorial shoots with photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, which resulted in fashion show commissions. “I can do a good Janet Jackson ‘Rhythm Nation’ 5-6-7-8, but I’ve never choreographed the models. I was giving more than a suggestion of movement, “she explains. Galloway decided to call himself a” director of the creative movement “, and thus the direction of the movement as we now know it was born.

For Ami’s Fall 2022 fashion show last January at the Palais Brongniart in Paris, which is located above a transport hub, designer Alexandre Mattiussi wanted the models to embody a “type of metropolitan energy”, which Galloway had them translate by moving with a strong sense of anticipation. “I said, ‘You have to go to the supermarket. They just have that sandwich you want. You have to find a way to get there. Because if you don’t get there with a purpose, it won’t be there, ‘”recalls Galloway.

A movement director’s goal, according to Child, a former Michael Clark Company dancer who founded the UK’s first fashion house in the late 1980s, is to attract model personalities. “I don’t want them to walk the generic way the agents teach, where they trample quite aggressively,” she says. “I’m like, ‘Oh my God, you scared the shit out of me, girl! No, love, let’s see you.‘”

Child, who has directed shows for BodyMap, Bella Freud and Alexander McQueen, is now the director of the Kim Jones movement at Fendi. “I’ve known and admired Les since I was a teenager,” says Jones. “Her skills and abilities to make models and artists feel comfortable and alive are second to none. He knows how to create a character. “

Galloway and Child have paved the way for a new cohort of movement directors who are helping to rethink the role the movement can play in presenting a collection. During the Maison Margiela Spring 2020 show, model Leon Dame took to the catwalk with a zigzag and slender step that immediately went viral. “People were calling saying, ‘Oh, it was something new,'” recalls Pat Boguslawski, a Paris-based movement director who has worked with John Galliano at Margiela since 2018. (Boguslawski also started dancing, studying at Debbie Reynolds Los Angeles Performing Arts Studio) “I was like, ‘It was nothing new. In the past, people did crazier things on the runway, and it wasn’t shocking. ‘ “

When audiences are trained to expect a steady pace, altering the speed or energy of a walk can be impressive. Sigrid Lauren, half of the Brooklyn-based performance art duo FlucT, created an almost trance effect at Peter Do’s Fall 2022 fashion show by challenging models to walk languidly across three sides of the outdoor stage and then even more slowly down the runway. central.

Al Marni in Milan, Brooklyn-based Sharleen Chidiac devised a pattern that saw models walk through the audience standing in a dark and cavernous space led by “torch-bearers” of art school students wielding torches. before getting on a runway. “It was very intentional that it was slow and maybe not what you expected from a show,” she says. “I directed them to be meditative and open-hearted and just very present and light.”

For Harris Reed’s fall 2022 show in London, Simon Donnellon, a movement director trained at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, collaborated with the designer to create a kind of tableau vivant that featured models with exaggerated blouses with sleeves. to gigots and fishtail maxi skirts going big, deliberate arm gestures, very slowly, to a live Sam Smith soundtrack. “A big, impactful movement catches my eye much more than a still image,” says Donnellon. “I’ve always been proud of myself for never having the traditional ‘runway experience’ in quotes and quotes, with emotionless faces and a bunch of trampling, but actually showing characters living themselves,” adds Reed.

That same week in London, designer Jawara Alleyne staged an exuberant ode to punk rebellion with a safety pin. “I got all these models to walk the runway smiling and cursing people,” says the show’s movement director, Yagamoto. “So they will smile here, and then they will change their attitude and give dirty looks to the people on this side and they will give the middle finger to the people up here and they will eat kisses there.”

The right direction of movement can lead to a more engaged audience, which is crucial during these highly distracting social media dominated times. “It has to be something that keeps you from scrolling, essentially,” says Emma Chadwick, a New York Ballet Basel student who has worked on many of Proenza Schouler’s recent video projects and has collaborated with Coach and Khaite this season. “Designers know that people want to see clothes move in an unexpected way.” Chadwick incorporates a wide range of gestures in her direction of movement; the Stranger things–Esque mise-en-scène at Coach featured a model walking a dog and two others on a bicycle. Khaite showed models walking in step with a robotic arm wielding the spotlight.

For Saul Nash, a London designer and director of the movement, the two aspects of his practice are the same. “When I draw, I think about what the wearer’s daily life might be and whether my clothes inhibit movement or allow freedom,” says Nash, who studied design and performance practice at Central Saint Martins before pursuing a master’s degree. in menswear design at the Royal College of Art. He associates with friends from the world of contemporary dance in his shows.

Ultimately, what many of these moving directors hope to achieve, in addition to grabbing your attention, is a sense of whimsy and joy. “I think one thing that has emerged from the shows after the pandemic is that the models act like they are happy to be there,” says Galloway. “For so long, they have been conditioned not to worry, but if people see that they are enjoying the show, it raises the spirits.”

This is something Patric DiCaprio, the co-designer of the New York label Vaquera, can achieve. Models at the brand’s catwalks perform an intense fast march with torso pushed forward, arms pumping and feet trampling in an apparent parody of the grim and grim march of the 00s. Midland Agency casting director Walter Pearce created the walk while modeling for Hood by Air and has since evolved it into his behind-the-scenes work in shows for Vaquera and Eckhaus Latta. “Fashion isn’t that serious, so it’s great when people can find humor in it,” says DiCaprio. “Because we do it too! This is part of why we’re like, ‘I’m so fierce; let me take my crazy walk. ‘ It’s fun to overdo it to the point where it’s almost like a meme. “

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.